Agricultural Employment and Economic Growth in the Lower Rio Grande Region

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Using the basic input-output model developed by the Texas Input-Output Project for a 19 county South Texas Region, income transfer effects from the extension of unemployment insurance to the agricultural sector were derived. Total income transferred would have ranged from $1.5 million to $2.3 million depending upon coverage provisions. About one-half of the transfer would have been from outside the region. The average income of the eligible agricultural employee would have been increased by $311. Employment effects from increasing agricultural output in the Lower Rio Grande Region were estimated. Although high direct total employment effects were obtained for the agricultural production industries, much of the increase was due to expanded seasonal employment. Only the vegetable, citrus, and irrigated crop industry ranked among the top 20 industries in employment generating ability, exclusive of seasonal workers. In addition to unemployment insurance, policy alternatives designed to minimize the adverse economic effects resulting from rapid expansion of seasonal employment were discussed.